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Literature / A Matter Of Pride

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A Matter Of Pride is a supernatural short story by Lightysnake, a semi-prequel to Girls on Film, and Nights In Lonesome Arkham and an entry in The Kindness of Devils. It can be read here.

In the days before Lucifer's fall, Heaven is a place of perfect beauty, marred only by an endless war with the demons. The angel Belial lives day in and out uncomfortable in their own body, never understanding why. When approached by Lucifer, Belial takes a long, hard look within and comes to grips with who and what they truly are before embracing their future.

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The work contains examples of the following tropes:

  • Affably Evil: Both Lucifer and Belial might fall to darkness, but remain pleasant people.
  • Arc Words: 'Disobey' is a recurring one for Lucifer's arc.
  • Armor-Piercing Question: "Who is Belial? Only you know the answer to that."
  • Cannot Spit It Out: Belial admits her love for Lucifer runs much deeper than she's ever admitted to him, but she has no plans to tell him that. After all, she still has her pride.
  • Chivalrous Pervert: Asmodeus. He and Belial seem to have a routine where he propositions her only to be denied, and he keeps it up after she changes to a female body. He also cares about Belial as a person, and never takes advantage of his partners, only coupling with those who consent.
    Belial: Respecting my choice, dear brother?
    Asmodeus: Lust is best only when reciprocated fully and completely. I can do naught else, save for you to one day change your mind, dear sister.
    Belial: And pride does not yield easily.
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  • Extreme Omnisexual: Asmodeus, an angel with well-known, voracious, sexual appetites. It's no wonder he becomes the sin of Lust.
    Belial: Oh, am I still you type?
    Asmodeus: He named me lust, Belial. Everyone is my type.
  • Foregone Conclusion: Belial is a known Devil, so it's no surprise her fall will occur.
  • Have You Seen My God?: God is completely absentee, answering no angel. Not even Lucifer.
  • Innocently Insensitive: Tanael, one of the few angels in the Thrones who treats Belial kindly, unknowingly insults Belial every time she called her "brother." After Belial changes to a female body, Tanael apologizes for any harm she caused her, and confides in Belial her own doubts about Creation.
  • Insult Backfire: Ezekial telling Belial her proclamations are 'arrogance,' merely results in her declaring "pride" with a wide grin.
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  • Jerkass: Ezekial, Belial's fellow angel in the Thrones who goes out of his way to insult her and prey on her insecurities. He even puts her name forward to fight in the war without her knowledge or consent.
  • Jerkass Façade: Belial puts on an air of nastiness and arrogance to shield herself from others, but is a kinder person under it.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Belial is a proud Devil by the end who is highly proud of herself, but she truly adores Lucifer, his children and believes in fixing that which was made wrong, as well as helping others to accept themselves for who they are.
  • Meaningful Name: Angels place a lot of importance in the names they were given and what they mean. This cause Belial, whose name means "Worthless," no shortage of angst. Lucifer gives her an alternate interpretation of the name, that instead of being worthless, the name indicates she is a person whose value is beyond any given measure, and Belial readily accepts it.
  • Narcissist: Most angels presume Belial is this since she spends her time, alone, gazing at her own reflection. In reality, she has crippling self-esteem issues and only stares at her reflection to find some presumed flaw that makes her feel so insecure. Once she realizes she was born in the wrong body and changes her form, she gains a new level of love and pride for herself.
  • Pet the Dog: Lucifer may be planning to start a giant war against heaven to overthrow the order, but his care for Belial and his helping her accept her true self seems to be utterly genuine.
  • Pride: Belial's sin of the Seven. It turns out to be her accepting pride in herself.
  • Rage Against the Heavens: Lucifer's entire hat, as well as Belial when she believes that her Father made her wrongly.
  • Seven Deadly Sins: Lucifer first recruits are seven angels, each of which represent one of the seven deadly sins. Belial, as indicated by the title, is Pride, while Asmodeus is Lust, and another angel named Leviathan is Envy.
  • Stepford Smiler: Belial forces herself to act confidently as a mask for her inner turmoil before she embraces her true identity.
  • Transgender: As revealed midway through (at which point, pronouns for Belial switch to feminine ones), the reason for Belial's initial anxiety is living eons in a male body but being female within. Accepting it gives her much more confidence in herself.
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